At CES 2019, the public got a first glimpse of Hyundai’s UMV (Ultimate Mobility Vehicle) concept, the Elevate Extendable Articulated Legs drove, rolled and walked crabs to help people in need. On Wednesday, Hyundai showed the results of its subsequent development efforts with the unveiling of its new TIGER (Transforming Intelligent Ground Excursion Robot) program concept, the X-1, on Wednesday – just don’t expect it to rescue anything bigger than a kitten for the time being.
“Vehicles like TIGER and the technologies they are based on give us the opportunity to spark our imaginations,” said Dr. John Suh, head of Hyundai’s newly formed New Horizons Studio, in a statement. “We are constantly looking for ways to rethink the design and development of vehicles and to redefine the future of transport and mobility.”
In contrast to the Elevate, TIGER is the first UMV from Hyundai that is designed for autonomous operation. Hence, its primary role is either to move cargo, equipment and supplies over difficult terrain instead of people, or to function as a mobile scientific exploration and sensing platform in remote areas.
New Horizons Studio
To achieve its goal, the TIGER X-1 (“Experimental Prototype 1”) can drive like a conventional AWD vehicle when its legs are retracted. or it can lock each wheel individually and stretch its legs to run, hop, or crawl over the barriers, berms, and breaks.
Although the Elevate has been portrayed as a vehicle that can carry fully grown people, New Horizons Studio starts smaller with the TIGER. “X-1 is about the size of hand luggage,” Suh told reporters at a recent press conference. “About 50 by 30, today maybe 18 centimeters.”
“We have focused more on the technological capabilities of the TIGER X-1 and will work on increasing the size and payload capacity in future versions,” he continued. “At the same time, we had to gain some insight from our future customers about what they need in terms of size and performance.”
New Horizons Studio
Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., New Horizons Studio has already begun reaching out to its Silicon Valley neighbors for assistance in developing the TIGER, including Autodesk and the Sundberg-Ferar design firm. Autodesk brings its expertise in additive manufacturing and is working on the development of lightweight carbon fiber components for future X prototypes. Sundberg-Ferar, on the other hand, takes care of the external design and capabilities of the vehicle.
“While developing TIGER with New Horizons Studio, the Sundberg-Ferar team wanted to design a robot that would maximize the efficiency of wheel movement with the articulation of a four-legged friend to expand the ability to reach remote locations,” said David Byron, manager of design and innovation strategy at Sundberg-Ferar, it says in a statement. “TIGER is a modular platform design that allows various bodies to be attached to the chassis for unique applications such as freight delivery or surveillance in places not suitable for people.”
New Horizons Studio
Hyundai is already brainstorming applications for its “legged car” design that goes beyond civil protection and cargo transportation, including autonomous wheelchair taxis that can go right to the person’s front door and drive in seamlessly. Of course, New Horizons has yet to invent, develop, or augment a number of TIGER’s in-house systems before that can happen, including “leg-to-leg locomotion, high-performance materials, structures, and propulsion systems; Chassis and body systems, virtual development and evaluation systems as well as human-centered designs and systems, ”says Hyundai.
“There are many technical obstacles that we have to overcome to make it taste like a scientific project,” Suh admitted. “However, it is our great wish to turn it into a product. One day for sure. “